C&S NEPTUNE'S Cian Heaphy is set to be a key player for Mark Keenan's Ireland team as they face into a week of make-or-break games in their FIBA Euro Basketball 2025 qualifier campaign.
Ireland have games with Switzerland (Thursday away) and Cyprus (Sunday at home) and the Neptune star is thrilled to finally make the final squad of 12 players for these games.
Heaphy was selected in the extended squad for last November’s games, but wasn’t chosen for the pared down final 12.
It’s a first senior call up for the son of former Neptune and North Mon star Ger Heaphy and he can't wait for the games.
"I am thrilled to get the chance to play senior for my country," Cian Heaphy said.
"Having played with Ireland at underage level, it has always been an ambition of mine to play senior and to get to do so this week is great.
"I can't wait for the games and I can't wait to play.
"It is a great honour and I hope we can do well in both games against two very tough opponents.
"I have loads of people to thank for helping me become a senior international player, my mum and dad, my brother Adam, my club and coaches and finally, I want to say a special words of thanks to my employer Stryker, who have allowed me time off this week to prepare, travel and play with my country," added Cian, who is on placement with Stryker from MTU.
Coach Mark Keenan is happy to have Heaphy in the squad.
“The call-up for Cian is richly deserved, he has been performing to a very high level for his club this season," Head coach Mark Keenan said.
"We’ve a strong mix of domestic and foreign-based players and narrowing it down to the final 12 was a difficult one, which is a testament to the depth we’re now building.
“We’re just days away from our first game of the February window, with a trip to Switzerland and then our home game against Cyprus on Sunday week.
"We’ve got a 1-1 record from the November games, which leave us very much in the shake-up in the group and we’re targeting more wins, as we look to reach the next stage of FIBA EuroBasket qualification.”
Ireland will play Switzerland in Fribourg on February 24th and then host Cyprus at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin on February 27th.
Ireland started their FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Pre-Qualifiers campaign last November with a 81-73 win over Cyprus in Nicosia, followed by a 97-70 home defeat against Austria.